Friday’s EFL predictions with Matt Jones
We're into the third round of matches in a very short period of time, and that means there's momentum with some teams, others not so, but also maybe tiredness creeping into some of the smaller squads within the EFL. As ever, I've got an EFL treble for you and we'll start in the Championship.
I'm looking at Preston against Sheffield Wednesday and I'm picking both teams to score in this fixture and that's because when Preston played recently there’s been goals and the same certainly applies to Sheffield Wednesday. Preston beat Leeds 2-1 last time out, a terrific result for Ryan Lowe and his side. That was their 4th successive game in which both teams have scored and in fact they've only kept one clean sheet in their last 19 outings, things have been really tough at the back for them.
13 matches for them at Deepdale so far this season they've only failed to score in two of them but no clean sheet at all at home. That means eleven of those 13 games have seen both teams score. As for Sheffield Wednesday, goals for them were a bit of a problem at the start of the season. They were keeping them out too, to be fair. They’ve really struggled on their return to the Championship but under manager Danny Rohl they’ve managed to start finding the back of the net.
Wednesday have now seen both teams score in six of their last eight games and they've only failed to net once during that period and that was the Boxing Day 2-0 defeat to Coventry. Still only one away win all season for them but they have scored in three of the last four on the road so they do seem to be finding the back of the net again, but not keeping them out at the other end.
Preston v Sheffield Wednesday looks like a both teams to score pick for me.
Into League One and Stevenage against Cambridge and I can only see this one going one way and that is a home win for Stevenage who are absolutely flying back in League One under Steve Evans. They're in 6th place in the table, only a couple of points off the top two. Not many would have predicted that they'd be in the promotion hunt this season but they certainly are, and that was helped by a 3-0 win over Northampton on Boxing Day. That was their sixth win in their last nine league outings. As I say, they're very much in that promotion race, they’ve only lost once at home all season, and that was against the Oxford in September. Since then, four wins and three draws. Cambridge, on the other hand, do not travel well. Neil Harris has come in and things have improved a touch but then they lost to Oxford on Boxing Day. That was their first defeat under the new boss. They still have one of the worst away records in League 1: 11 games played, 1 win, 3 draws, 7 defeats and three defeats in their last four on the road, conceding 11 goals in the process - at least two goals conceded in each of those four games.
There’s no win in six head to heads against Stevenage either. They've lost five of those. They don't enjoy playing them.
A home win for Stevenage for me in this one v Cambridge United.
Finally into League 2 and there's a bit of a local derby with Swindon taking on Forest Green Rovers and this is a game where surely we expect to see goals because these teams are not particularly good defensively. Swindon have conceded 46 goals this season. Remarkable they are scoring a lot too! 44 have gone in at the other end for Michael Flynn's team, and that is the best of any team outside the playoffs, so you can expect goals for and against Swindon.
They’ve lost four in a row, three of which have had three or more goals and five of their last six matches have also contained 3 or more goals.
As for Forest Green Rovers, they're under a new manager in Troy Deeney. They lost 4-2 to Newport on Boxing Day and that means they've conceded at least two goals in four of their last five outings. Six of their last 10 on the road have contained 3 or more goals, including that defeat to Newport and there’ve been some pretty poor results elsewhere on the road as well: 4-3 against Notts County, 3-0 against Tranmere, 3-0 against Blackpool in the FA Cup. When Forest Green play away they are conceding too many goals and that's why I fancy three or more goals in this fixture.
So just to run you through that treble again: Preston against Sheffield Wednesday I'm expecting both teams to score. Stevenage to beat Cambridge at home and Swindon against Forest Green Rovers 3 or more goals in the game.